Tag Archives: ephemera

How to Make Ephemera Fit with Your Design

Do you avoid including memorabilia and ephemera from your life because it ruins your gorgeous designs?

Or do you use them but feel like they make your pages less attractive?

In this episode I share lots of tips for making the stuff from your life look awesome (or beautiful!) on your pages. You’ll also see me assemble three different layouts with ephemera (all boy pages!) start to finish.

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Lavish Design or Meaningful Journaling? …Six Multi-Page Scrapbook Layouts that have Both

My Baby Blanket Story (closeup)
Who do you follow? The little devil on your left shoulder tempting you to put all your time on pretty products and a beautiful scrapbook page? Or the guardian angel on your right, whispering for you to focus on the story?

I used to slap that little devil off of me and follow my guardian angel, but not anymore…

Continue reading Lavish Design or Meaningful Journaling? …Six Multi-Page Scrapbook Layouts that have Both

The Cheater’s Guide to Scrapbooking Ephemera

There’s a rumor going around that it’s hard to include ephemera (memorabilia) on pages.

They say it makes the page ugly, or it’s hard to work it in with your favorite papers and products.

Well, I have some secrets for how to include all those rich bits of life while still knocking out fantastic layouts.

If you’ve struggled at all with ephemera and memorabilia, consider this your cheater’s guide…

Fold Double-Sided Patterned Paper and Slip It In.

We Are the Tooth Fairy (full spread)

Most of the time I don’t hide it (see below), but there is some seriously ugly ephemera inside this super cute pocket.

We Are the Tooth Fairy (closeup)

There’s some kind of gunk on it, and it’s hard to make sense of it without a back-story anyway. The story makes more sense if you just read the journaling. But the precious handwriting and the real item that went back-and-forth between our own hands is here for my son to enjoy when he’s delivering money for the teeth of his own babies.

Since the ephemera is 8.5 inches wide, I cut patterned paper to the same width, folded it so the inside of the back back would show above the front, and punched a half circle. This allows the ephemera to peek out so you know it’s there. Then I stuck it into an 8.5×11 page protector, which I then cut down to the proper height.

We Are the Tooth Fairy (full spread, pg. 3)

When you do this you have an excuse to use even more of your favorite paper supplies!

Hold It In Place Without Adhesives.

My 3rd Birthday

If you don’t have photo turns, try clear photo corners or large-sized brads instead and let the ephemera sit (un-pierced) on top of the brad stems, but underneath the edge of brad.

Lisa Noell (pg4)

I did something similar to this with this original photo. Three of the corners sit in clear photo corners. One corner is held in by the beak of a cute wood veneer bird. That part of the bird is not adhered, so you can slip photo out of it.

Dominate the Ugly with the Beautiful.

Declared Intentions

Granted, I partially hid the ephemera in an envelope, since it’s 3 tiny notes torn from corners of scrap paper. But I also wanted those pieces to peek out. And as you see, the biggest piece that shows itself is a rather hideous super-bright yellow.

Does it ruin the page?

It doesn’t, for two reasons…

  1. There’s enough of all the other colors that they dominate it.
  2. As we learned in my video tutorial #182 – How to Make a Misfit Photo Work, you can make any monstrosity disappear by putting it in or near the middle.

Declared Intentions (closeup)

Design Your Page Around It.

Love Potion #9 (closeup)

Oh yeah — here’s another piece of ephemera in that same hideous bright yellow. Sometimes you just can’t choose what your family members write their treasures on.

And this note, with Izzy’s addition to my grocery list, is really a treasure. How sad if I had chosen not to scrapbook it because the color is ugly.

I decided to go with the crazy color and find another, more palatable, vibrant hue to accent it.

Leonardo da Vinci

Here’s another example of working the ephemera right into the design. I started with my main design pieces: two photos and the torn drawing. I formed them into a structure: a visual triangle, and designed the rest of the page around it.

Want to know how the ephemera adds to the design, instead of detract from it?

  • The ephemera provides the title.
  • The top edge leads the eye to the focal point photo.
  • The bunting embellishment leads the eye to the drawing.
  • The torn edge leads the eye to the bottom photo.

love SHARE (closeup)

On this layout I worked with the post-it note from my son as if it were a second photo.

Make It Open-able.

Symphony (closeup)

We all have programs.

Make the inside easily accessible by cutting slits in the page protector around the top, bottom, and open side of the program. To make it even easier to open, attach the plastic and front of the program with an embellished clip so that the top of the click sticks out of the protector.

Symphony (closeup)

You can work the program into the design of the page by adding embellishments over both the inside of the program, and the background paper. From a design standpoint, this anchors the program to the page so it doesn’t feel like it’s plopped on — a common reason scrapbookers avoid ephemera (unnecessarily!).

Give it it’s own page protector as a pocket.

Lisa Noell (pg3)
This newspaper article sits in a 6×6 page protector. No adhesive necessary.

And thank goodness, as adhesive would ruin this 40 year old treasure my mom clipped and made notes on.

Underneath this protector is a 12×12 pocket that holds four more pieces of valuable ephemera. Both protectors have patterned paper inside, but nothing is taped.

Lisa Noell (pg1)

Embellish the Outside of the Protector.

Tell Tale Heart
This is a great way to keep the ephemera in it’s original condition, make it easily removable, but still have decoration.

Treat It Like a Focal Point Photo.

Dance Company Description
At the beginning of a dance year, our studio put out a handbook that let’s dance parents know our standards, and gives descriptions of the teams their dancers might aspire to being in. If you or your child is on a team, in a club, or part of an organization, you probably have descriptions available somewhere too.

I love organization descriptions because someone else has already done the writing for you, and that person has better knowledge of the description than we do.

Make a Pocket From a Screen-Printed Transparency.

Tiny Baby

I put the “pretty” ephemera on the main page, as part of the overall design. Then I made a 6×12 page on the right for the not so pretty stuff.

Alter It

Here’s a super thick program. I tore out the non-relevant pages (there were many).
NYCDA - inside program
Here’s a super thick program. I tore out the non-relevant pages (there were many).

Then to bring attention to the most important page (with Trinity’s dances) I glued her convention bracelet in as a book mark. On a part of a page that was insignificant I added a journaling box.

Show It Off, Bare-Naked.

When you turn the page (the program inside of a page protector) you see an award certificate. There’s nothing added to it at all — it’s bare naked in it’s original condition.

Notice how I took the green-blue color from the certificate and made it the accent color of the opposite page to make the whole spread flow.

Make It Your Background

Owl City: First Concert
I cut a concert t-shirt down to 12×12 and adhered it to cardstock. Then I added my photo and goodies right on top.

Of course, none of this is really cheating.

But if you want to pin this to your Pinterest wall it can still be your guide. Maybe we should call the the Expert’s Ephemera Guide instead of the Cheater’s Guide.

Want to be an expert at including the real scraps of life in your scrapbooks, and give your stories texture and intimacy? Go match your ephemera with your scrap-able photos and start scrapbooking them together using any one of the methods above.

It’ll add a whole new layer of realness and story that you will always love.

Want some inspiration to listen to as you give it a try right now?

Hear me talk with three other well-loved scrapbookers about how they use ephemera on the Paperclipping Roundtable.

Shine On,

P.S.> A majority of the scrapbook pages in this article were assembled on video in tutorials for the Paperclipping Members. Think you might like to watch them?

Click here for info!

Coordinate Photos with Ephemera and Stories – Paperclipping 196

paperclipping 196

Do you ever find ephemera for a scrapbook page you already completed?


And how good are you at getting around to scrapbooking those bigger stories that span long periods of time or require you use photos and ephemera from different time periods?

Are you on top of those or do you procrastinate them?

It’s easy if your album project is chronological, like with Project Life. You can stick your ephemera straight into the pockets for that week. For my daughter’s dance album I put her ephemera into page protectors in the album.

Easy peasy.

But many scrapbooks these days are not chronological. Most of mine are not. Coordinating the flow of photos, ephemera, and stories we jotted down on scraps of paper or notebooks is one of the most overwhelming and difficult thing about scrapbooking. Over the years I’ve learned systems for organizing printed photos in onw place, organizing my ephemera another place, and my jotted stories in another.

They may be very organized in their individual places, but that isn’t an easy way to get all those items together into actual scrapbook pages.

Is it easy for you?

Tiny Baby (closeup)

This year I revamped everything to bring it all together into one place. If that’s how we scrapbook, why not organize it that way?

Keep your story ideas, your printed photos for scrapbooking, your ephemera, and your jotted down kid-quotes and stories all in one place that is easily viewable — something you can flip through.

That way you can see what photos you still need to print for the stories and ephemera that are waiting, and when it’s time to sit and scrapbook you have a whole bunch of story options with all the pieces together ready to go!

Shine on,

P.S. Need some help with this? I just made a video tutorial that shows:

  • What I use to safely store these items together.
  • My process for getting all the pieces in their place.
  • How my own system makes it so easy to scrapbook the bigger stories.
  • A page I put together with seven different items of ephemera that my parents collected over my first year as a baby.

This video is located in the Paperclipping Membership. If you’re not yet a member, click here for info!


Scrapbook Your Food Story: Your Food Execution

Apr 2011 3549

This is the third day we’ve been talking about scrapbooking our food stories. Have I convinced you that you do have a compelling food story to tell?

So far we’ve answered these two questions:

Now it’s time for the third question…

What’s Your Planning, Shopping, and Cooking Method?

This story is already in progress. I have some memorabilia and I used it to determine the size and a mini-book (pictures of mini-in-progress below). Now I’m in the story + picture gathering stage.Below are some questions to consider along with my own answers to the ones that apply, which will go in my mini-book.

  • How do you go about deciding your meals?
  • Do you plan a menu?
  • Do you see what is available at the farmer’s market or your CSA and cook from there?
  • Do you only shop at one standard grocery store or do you shop around with coupons for different store deals?
  • Do you rotate the same 7 meals every week and wing it when dinner time comes?
  • Do you prep food head of time or make it all at once?

For many years I chose about five new recipes a week, simultaneously listing the ingredients I needed. I had my menu and my grocery lists altogether on one piece of paper. I usually started a list as I realized I needed something from the store and over a week’s time it would accumulate items, the names and sources of new recipes to try (my menu), and lots and lots of doodles.

There are certain things I bought at the regular grocery store and other things I got at Sprouts, so I actually had two lists on one scrap of paper.

A Week In The Life  240

This year I’ve kept our regular menu very simple. We go to either the Farmer’s Market or Sprouts and see what’s in season and looks good, and we buy it. Then we make things up from there. I look forward to a time when I can do a bit more planning and try more recipes, but this is working for our lives right now.

Mesa Farmer's Market

May 11

May 15

May 21

The Mini-book:
Here’s what I have so far…

Apr 2011 3550

Apr 2011 3556

Apr 2011 3552

Apr 2011 3551

Apr 2011 3557

Story-gathering Tip

Save a few grocery lists and menus! In the future you and others will find it fascinating. I have three lists from two years ago and I already love looking at them!

This is the end of a three-post series on telling the story about your food! I always have more to say on any given subject than normal people, so don’t feel bad if you think your story will only fill a single layout. That’s cool too!

Five Things That Could Be Missing From Your Scrapbooks

Memorabilia 924 - Version 2
Ever since I went through my old-school scrapbooks from high school and college a year or two ago, I’ve been on an escalating (though quiet) rampage regarding Life-Stuff — in other words, memorabilia and ephemera. I realized I enjoy my old scrapbooks — void of cute papers and embellishments, but packed full of stuff from my life — as much as my current ones, which were heavier on the “cute,” but lighter on the “life.”

Some memorabilia can tell the parts of the stories that our words and photos leave out.
Skeptical? You’ll see some examples below.

Life-Stuff Worth Keeping

In addition to the obvious ticket stubs, play bills, and post cards, there are other types of memorabilia/ephemera you might not have considered. Here are five qualities that compel me to save some memorabilia while tossing the others:

1) Tells something about your life.

While the left pocket in the memorabilia protector below holds the common concert memorabilia, the pocket on the right is holding ephemera from my favorite clothing store. Those items say a little something about me right now. Eventually these pieces will move onto a layout or mini-book.
Memorabilia 916

Some items tell a more subtle story about things that are going on in your life. At the end of the school year, Aiden’s teacher sent home a bunch of his first grade schoolwork. As I fished through the pieces, deciding what to toss and what to keep, I found the page below in a Valentines book where Aiden drew a picture of himself handing his great grandmother a heart.

At first I thought it was strange that he depicted Grandma Holt in bed, until I put the clues together and remembered that the month before he drew it, we had been visiting her in hospice. She died a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day. This drawing means that our visits, and Aiden’s relationship with Grandma, had enough of an impact on him to include it in his Valentine’s story two weeks later.
Memorabilia 903

2) Captures handwriting

The handwriting alone doesn’t do it for me, since we’re talking about collecting current ephemera, and there are a lot of possible pieces to save based on the handwriting criteria alone. But coupled with something else on the list, it’s very cool. Below is a story in Blake’s handwriting. He is a natural writer and I noticed that he used story-writing as a way to deal with a frustrating scenario involving a sibling.
Memorabilia 911
Actually, I’ve noticed he’s not the only one in my family to deal with situations this way. I may (or may not) want to combine these stories about various family members into one scrapbook story about family tendencies.
Memorabilia 906

3) Demonstrates learning and progress of a skill or natural talent

Aiden is also a writer — actually all five of us are — and after he wrote the “book” below, he pointed out to me that he included a problem and a solution in his plot-line, something he had recently learned.
Memorabilia 908

4) Demonstrates a person’s interests, natural tendencies, personality

Trinity draws almost every day, and most of what she draws has bright colors, hearts, and rainbows. I want to share her common art subject in a future scrapbook page, and I decided to save one that also included characters from her favorite movie, Hairspray.
Memorabilia 901

5) Shows a relationship

Below is something I saved that my Dad wrote to me, way back in 1980.
Memorabilia 919

When I was around fourteen, I decided to save this playful piece of paper my sister and I occupied our minds with during church. I could just journal something like, “My sister and I loved to play and tease, even during church,” but that doesn’t say it the way this does . . .
Memorabilia 922

And this is something I found in a paper pad. It’s the score sheet kept by one of my kids’ favorite babysitters from a game she played with Trinity. I love that Emily’s teasing personality will be forever implanted in our memories with this one piece of paper.
Memorabilia 913

Are you ready to start USING your memorabilia and need some inspiration? Below are some links to episodes with some layouts and mini-books. Paperclipping Members can watch the corresponding episodes in the Member’s Area, but if you’re not a member, you can see the projects in the blog post. If you want to see the tutorials as well, please click here to learn to learn about membership.

Everyday Items (for memorabilia specifically, look for the Starbucks mini-book)
Using Newspaper Articles on Layouts
Vacation Mini-book
Love Notes Mini-Book

Click here if you need my Cheater’s Guide to Scrapbooking Ephemera to help you get going!